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Wednesday 16 October 2019

What a wild weekend – and there's more on the way

Allison Bray, Majella O'Sullivan and Brian McDonald

AS the curtain fell on a riot of bank holiday festival madness, the veil was lifted on the craic planned for the weeks ahead.

After three days of music, barbecues, face painting and chucking rocks, there are no plans to call a halt to the party just yet.

Sea creatures of all kinds are due on the streets of Galway over the June bank holiday weekend as the West celebrates its maritime connections.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected at the first ever Galway Sea Festival (May 31-June 3) where traditional and modern craft will sail spectacularly into Galway harbour, while land-based activities will include science shows and air-sea rescues.

But even sooner, a gathering of different nationalities and flags is expected to transform Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, into a kaleidoscope of colour next weekend.

Clubs, societies and the various foreign nationals living here are all invited to wave their banner at the country's first-ever flag and emblem festival.

Bratacha Festival organiser Tom Conlon said anybody with a flag, a family crest or other emblem was welcome to take part.

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Meanwhile, festivals up and down the country kept weekenders entertained.

An estimated 40,000 people attended the Riverfest in Limerick, which featured over 40 separate events including the Great Limerick Run, a barbecue competition and a dog show.

Riverfest 2013 organiser Fran O'Donnell said it was the busiest and most popular event to date.

In the village of Corofin, Co Clare, they were throwing stones – but not at each other.

Instead, those with a steady hand and a keen eye took part in the 13th World Stone-Throwing Championships at the Festival of Finn.

And there is more to come, after it emerged that Arts Council funding of €333,959 has been paid to help run 79 festivals around the country for the second half of this year, a figure that still represents only 43pc of the total applications made.

Some €20,000 went to the Kerry Film Festival, while other winners, who will each receive €10,000, include the Cork Folk Festival and Dublin's gay and lesbian Gaze Film Festival.

Since 2008, arts funding has been cut by 30pc and the Arts Council says it would have needed €1,493,005 to support all the 182 applications made in the second round of the Festival and Events Scheme 2013.

Arts Council director Orlaith McBride said despite the cuts, she saw it as vital support for the arts was maintained within limited resources as far as possible.

Irish Independent

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